As I read the synopsis, I sighed. Another story about Roanoke and the lost colonists. I get the fascination with it, but, frankly, would love to see major publishers (like Aladdin) give us books by Native writers! Whether they set their stories in the past or the present, at least teachers and librarians would be able to use present tense verbs to talk about the author and their nation.
As it is, Summer of Lost and Found looks to be yet another story that presents Native peoples in the past, and a Native spirit or ghost like presence that makes life interesting for present day White characters. No surprise to see it being promoted by the author of Blue Birds.
From the author of When Audrey Met Alice comes a sweeping middle grade novel about a city girl forced to spend her summer in North Carolina, where she becomes involved in a centuries-old mystery, turning her once boring vacation into an adventure she never could have imagined.
Nell Dare expected to spend her summer vacation hanging out with her friends in New York City. That is, until her botanist mom dragged her all the way to Roanoke Island for a research trip. To make matters worse, her father suddenly and mysteriously leaves town, leaving no explanation or clues as to where he went—or why.
While Nell misses the city—and her dad—a ton, it doesn’t take long for her to become enthralled with the mysteries of Roanoke and its lost colony. And when Nell meets Ambrose—an equally curious historical reenactor—they start exploring for clues as to what really happened to the lost colonists. As Nell and Ambrose’s discoveries of tantalizing evidence mount, mysterious things begin to happen—like artifacts disappearing. And someone—or something—is keeping watch over their quest for answers.
Am I unfairly pre-judging this book? Some would say yes. If/when I get it, I'll be back with a review. But seriously... I'm not optimistic. There's plenty going on RIGHT THIS MINUTE that should make life interesting for White characters. That should move them from a place of ignorance about Native peoples, to one where they're motivated to do something about the many injustices that Native peoples face, today. Instead, it seems children's book publishing is... happy to keep giving us long-ago-far-away stories that don't unsettle the injustice of now.